Bleak observations living in 1 of Scotland’s poorest towns

 

  1. No one likes to see anyone else doing well

 

Far from being happy that one of their own has succeeded in life, there seems to be a deep routed resentment of anyone that is doing well. Perhaps this success reflects back on them the mundane reality of their own lives. Maybe the deprivation has stripped away any sense of pride in their hometown.

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There is a bizarre sense that anything outstanding or creative should be mocked and sneered at. On the rare occasion that some great event has happened in this Kilmarnock, there is barely a whisper of excitement. Great performers such as Kasabian and Calvin Harris have graced us with their presence. Un-surprisingly they have not been back. This makes life as a local artist, musician or sportsman extremely hard, as it is near impossible to build a fan base. This goes much deeper than just peoples careers and creative passions. This attitude carries to simple things like the clothes on your back. If you happen to wear anything that is not from a high street shop, or is not plain and unassuming you are greeted like Frankenstein’s monster. People walk about in little boxes, not daring to be different like some kind of self-governed Orwellian nightmare.

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Maybe they don’t want one of theirs to escape. There seems to be a lack of trust and fear of people that are different. Like they want everyone in their pack to be like them. Which leads me to my next point.

  1. Fear and Hostility –

I have never lived or visited a more hostile environment. The residents are in a constant state of mental alertness to any sign of aggression. A smile – the simplest form of human kindness is near obsolete. Many a fight has started over a person looking too long at the next. People walk around without looking into the eyes of the passers-by. But always peripherally glancing paranoidly out of their shelled off existence.

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Furthermore there is an eternal need of showing toughness, weakness can never be shown leading to needlessly aggressive situations. This also means that friendly interactions are slim, and meeting new friends by chance is even slimmer. Rather than enjoying the company of new faces and all the new philosophies and humour they could be sharing, the natural reaction is to become very defensive and standoffish. Even the junkies of the Town are surprisingly quiet and un-approaching. Even the pressing desire for smack isn’t enough to counter the deep routed fear and paranoia that would come with begging.

 

  1. Everyone wants to leave no one ever does

Living in a deprived poverty stricken town it is not surprising that so many people want to leave for greener pastures. Many a night at the pub are spent talking and listening about grandurous plans of Escapism. Of starting over again, travelling abroad, getting a better job, meeting a girl. But no one ever leaves.

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The years go by and the conversation don’t change, but the hair gets greyer and the lines get deeper and the same faces remain. However no amount of hatred seems enough to inspire a move to these idolized escapes. It seems that the negative mentality is actually keeping them from doing what they would love most. To move away. The fear inspires them to seek the easy life and so, they remain where they are, what they know, and continue to moan and whine.

  1. There is an information blackout

For a large town within 30 miles of Glasgow it is extremely under informed and uncultured. As I have stated previously the people like the easy life. Trying to organize a trip to Glasgow (a 30 minute drive) is bizarrely hard and stressful. I liken this to the same level of effort needed to organize a week long stag do abroad on short notice.

So rather than exploring new horizons, meeting new people and discovering new idea’s, events, musical tastes for example, people self-contain themselves in a social bubble. Many an eye opening event has been missed, replaced instead by a night out at the same local pub, featuring the same people, ideas and conversations.

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A combination of this and the lack of diversity also means that the town is stuck in old habits, and racism is still very much part of the culture. A prime example of this is going to school and friends literally laughing because they saw a black person.  Racist jokes are common place and not frowned upon in the slightest. Oriental takeaways and corner shops are still openly called Chinkies and Pakki shops with no real regard to the true origin of the retailer.

 

A town so closed off mentally and emotionally means that homophobia is rife, and that homosexuals rarely come out openly. The ignorance, fear of anything different and disgust at weakness often leads to verbal attacks on homosexuals. Thankfully other than sneering looks and remarks, this does not often boil over to physical attacks, although it does happen:

 

The outskirts of the town:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2053136/Gay-barman-Stuart-Walker-killed-set-victim-sex-attack.html

The town is downwind from Glasgow and so carries the same bigoted beliefs and tribal attitudes associated with their 2 biggest football teams (Rangers and Celtic). A rivalry so old and bitter, that it leads to an increase in domestic abuse cases when they play each other:

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/old-firm-fallout-police-reveal-7858853#qbz5hki9cK4O1WoU.97

 

The ‘Old Firm’ is so intertwined with people’s identities religious and political beliefs that it can have an effect on political movements. A great example of this would be the Scottish independence. For ultra-complicated reasons that I won’t even try to explain, which football team you support, can effectively sway the outcome of these types of votes. Rangers with a deep sense of British Nationalism and love for the queen vote to remain in the UK, whereas Celtic invariably vote to leave the UK. And this sense of identity and ignorance allows them to get played like pawns, not thinking for themselves just going with the general consensus.

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As for environmental issues, it’s barely worth a mention as it is of no relevance to many peoples thought patterns.

 

Jamie Glover Writing

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